Sometimes less is more, and that has been the case for Paula Arenas. The Colombian singer-songwriter switched to an acoustic style and a home production for her EP “Mis amores”, which with just six songs earned her four Latin Grammy nominations, including in the main categories of song, recording and album of the year, as well as best traditional vocal pop album.
“I can’t believe it, it really is quite a surprise,” Arenas said in a recent video call interview from Miami, where he resides. “I did not expect it, I am an independent artist, with an album produced by another woman, also acoustic. Truly, never in my life had I expected that to happen and well, wow! I am celebrating it and I will celebrate it completely. “
The Latin Grammy, in its 21st edition, will be delivered on Thursday, November 18 in Las Vegas in a ceremony broadcast live on Univision.
As early as 2019, Arenas had competed for three awards with her debut album, “Visceral,” and in 2017 she had been nominated in the coveted Best New Artist category in 2017.
The six songs on “Mis amores” include the nominee for song and recording of the year “A tu lado”, co-written with María Elisa Ayerbe, as well as a version of the vallenato classic “Los camino de la vida”.
Ayerbe also co-produced, mixed and collaborated in the recording engineering of the EP that emerged in the pandemic, at a time when Arenas also became the mother of her son León, to whom she dedicates the song of the same name on the album.
“We are friends, I am a great admirer of her work,” Arenas said. “María Luisa was very close to me all that time, we were working all the time during the pregnancy.”
“Mis amores” also featured the production of Sebastián Mejía and the experienced Julio Reyes Copello, with whom Arenas has collaborated since his 2016 single “Nada”.
“Julio is a teacher,” Arenas said. “He is also my teacher personally, who knows my voice better, and I feel that when I record with Julio he tends to bring out my best version and for that I will always be grateful.”
Arenas composed mostly the intimate themes of the album, with additional lyrics by Ayerbe, Kany García, Fernando Osorio, Reyes Copello and Juan Pablo Vega.
“The intention was really to get music from the soul, the intention was to get the songs that I had written during the pandemic dedicated to my family and make them come true,” he said. “Just that acoustic sound, that feeling that you get in just one take, and that’s what happened. Much was recorded in the house. The beauty of this album really is that it was lived in a reality and it was produced in that same reality ”.
Arenas is the only female solo artist nominated in the main categories this year (except for best new artist). Evaluna Montaner appears in the category of recording of the year, but accompanied by her family by “Amen”.
“The truth is that you have to be honest and this industry is absolutely macho. You have to start from that entry. This is a men’s industry and the few women are trying to open space, ”said Arenas. “There are few of us who are trying to open as much as possible and we continue to fight. Would we like there to be more? Obviously we would like! It is what we dream of and it is what we are working with ”.
She added: “I am very proud to really carry this little feminine flag forward.”
The nominations have also made him feel more supportive in his career after a decade working as a freelance artist.
“It makes me more sure of myself, to say ‘yes it’s worth betting on one’ because I no longer have anyone to assign this to. I attribute this to me, to the hard work we have done with the team, to the people who have been there from the beginning, who have always believed, “he said.
“A Tu Side”, nominated for song and recording of the year, was “chasing her for a long time” until she finally managed to put it on paper. She dedicates it to her husband, the designer Beto Pérez.
“It is a thank you to my husband for being that man who does not let me stop dreaming, who is always by my side supporting me, flapping my wings, lifting me up to continue. It is a gratitude for him and for those people who always stay by our side as if they were cheerleaders cheering us on, ”he said.
In the case of “The roads of life”, original by the Colombian Omar Geles, Arenas said that it is a song that she has known since she was a child and that she had always wanted to interpret. He sought to do it in his own way, with acoustic guitar and ballad rhythm.
“A totally different version from what the original is, with all the respect that the vallenato that I love deserves,” he said. “I think it’s a song that can be perfect in any style because it’s beautiful and that’s what we did.”
The EP also includes “Rien”, the French version of the song “Nada” with which “Visceral” begins.
“For many years I sang in French, I made a living singing in French, singing Edith Piaf, without knowing a drop of French and I always wanted to take it to that,” said Arenas. “It seemed super good to me and that it was perfect for this moment because ‘Nada’ is a song like recognition and it is also good to recognize myself in that language”.
As for the Latin Grammy ceremony, he is not going to miss it: “I’m looking for a dress, the whole thing, I’ll be there,” said Arenas. But León will not go with her: “He stays with his grandmother.”
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Paula Arenas arrives bluntly at the Latin Grammy